Congratulations on your decision to breastfeed, it is a great start for your baby!
When you are breastfeeding, you have greater needs for most nutrients. You need more energy (Calories) when you are producing breast milk. Some of this energy can come from fat stored during pregnancy. Some needs to come from food. Selecting a variety of foods from the Food Guide in this leaflet will ensure nutrient and energy needs for you and your baby are met.
Added sugar provides no nutrients, only empty calories. Our bodies need no sugar other than that found naturally in food.
Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium, which is vital for breast milk production. If your calcium intake is inadequate, your body’s calcium will be used to produce breast milk.
3 serves a day 1 serve is 250ml milk or 200gms yogurt or 30gms hard cheese or 1 cup custard or 1 cup cottage cheese. Try using low-fat dairy foods regularly.
Breads and cereals provide your body with fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Many foods in this group are not very high in calories -it is often what we eat with them, is calorie – laden.
7 or more serves a day 1 serve is 1 slice of bread or 1 small roll or ½ cup cooked rice or pasta or 2/3 cup breakfast cereal.
Meat and meat alternatives are good sources of protein and iron but may also contain quite a lot of fat. Choose lean meat and skinless chicken and try cooking without adding fat. 1 to 2 serves a day 1 serve is 120gms raw lean meat or 120gms chicken or 120gms fish or l00gms uncooked dried beans or 3/4 cup baked beans.
Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Your need for vitamin C is increased when breast-feeding. Good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, cauliflower and tomato.
7 or more serves a day
1 serve is 1 piece fresh fruit
or 2 tablespoons cooked vegetables
or 1/2 cup canned fruit
or 3/4 cup salad
If you’re losing much weight than you want to
Some women find they lose too much weight when they are breast-feeding. Don’t stop breast-feeding and try not to skip meals. Make time to eat regular meals that include the kinds of foods in the Food Guide. Snack times are extra opportunities to meet your body’s needs. If you’re losing more weight than you want to
Keep easy-to-prepare snack foods in hand, such as:
- Whole meal crackers and cheddar cheese.
- Sandwiches with peanut butter and sultanas, or your favorite filling.
- Full-cream yogurt with chopped fresh fruit.
- Peanuts and sultanas.
If you weigh more than you want to
Many women look forward to regaining their pre-pregnancy weight. A sensible aim is to lose half a kilogram a week. Do not crash diet or skip meals. This may force your body to draw on its own stores of nutrients to produce breast milk.
Tips for eating well
- Trim all fat from meat and chicken. Cook without added fat-by steaming, micro waving, boiling, and grilling. Increase flavor by adding herbs, vegetables and fruit.
- Use butter or margarine thinly on bread or crackers. Avoid dollops of butter on vegetables. Quench thirst with water. Fruit juices (even unsweetened) contain calories; so limit juice to one glass each day.
- Use low-fat dairy products. They supply calcium and protein without unwanted fat and calories.
Regular brisk exercise burns up extra calories (energy). Choose any activity you enjoy which increases your rate of breathing. Try walking, pushing the pram around the block, cycling, swimming or low – impact aerobics. Start with 15 minutes and gradually increase to 30 or 40 minutes. Repeat four or five times a week.
How much should I drink while I’m breast -feeding?
Though drinking more water won’t produce more milk. It is important to keep up your fluid intake. Water is best.
What determines how much breast milk I make?
The more your baby sucks at the breast, the more breast milk you make. A normal nutritious diet, and a calm and pleasant frame of mind while feeding will ensure an adequate milk flow.
Do foods I eat cause colic in my baby?
If you feel a specific food causes problems, you may need to avoid it or eat only small amounts of it. Talk to your child health nurse if you are unsure.
What about tea, coffee, and alcohol?
Caffeine and alcohol pass into breast milk. Avoid large amounts (more than four cups a day) of tea, coffee and cola drinks. It is best to limit alcohol to no more than two standard drinks. Some women prefer not to drink alcohol at all when breast-feeding.
Can I take medicines while I am breast-feeding?
The medicines you take do get into the breast milk and reach the baby to available extent. While the majority of commonly prescribed medicines are safe, it is important that you seek the prescribing doctor’s advice regarding breast-feeding